Moss Bros beats tough fashion market as sales rise

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said the business has traded well despite tough conditions

Moss Bros, the menswear specialist, has posted a rise in sales and is confident of meeting City earnings expectations despite uncertain retail conditions.

The retailer reported sales up 3.7% in the first 15 weeks of the year, when like-for-likes advanced 2.3%.

Like-for-like retail sales, including ecommerce, rose 5.5% in the period to May 13, when new season’s ranges sold well.

However, tough conditions meant the retailer reintroduced its mid-season Sale, which resulted in retail gross margins down 50 basis points year on year.

Ecommerce revenues rose 14.7% to account for 11.6% of the total.

Like-for-like hire sales, on a ‘cash taken’ basis, fell 14.2% as the retailer reduced the value of deposits taken when orders were placed. Hire order numbers were down 3.8%, and the value of orders slipped 1.6%.

Moss Bros chief executive Brian Brick said he was was pleased by the performance and that market expectations should be met, but cautioned that challenges lay ahead.

‘Economic headwinds’

He said: “Moss Bros continues to trade well and in line with the board’s expectations, despite the continuing tough trading environment and a highly competitive marketplace which has seen significantly more markdown activity than the same period last year.

“We continue to be acutely aware of the economic headwinds which we will face for the remainder of the financial year, as input cost increases come into effect.

“We are also mindful that zero real wage growth will impact on consumer confidence. We will remain agile in our response to these market conditions.

“We are focused on the peak period of our trading year, with performance strongly event-driven as we enter wedding season, Ascot and the school prom season.

“We are well placed in terms of both our core offer and levels of stock availability to maximise our share of customers’ spend.”

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